I bumped my elbow walking out of my office this morning. It hurt. My first thought was, Well, Jessica you shouldn’t be walking out of the office while still getting dressed. Do one thing at a time, huh? As my elbow throbbed, I paused and felt the real sting. This reprimand stung more than the injury itself. Why wasn’t my first response to a bump on the elbow, tenderness? A memory of my grandmother surfaced, who, as she faced the difficult inevitabilities of aging -forgetfulness, lack of coordination and balance- would exclaim,Now that was dumb Ella Jean! Why would I do something so stupid!? Then she would laugh the sort of laugh that has no smile in it. It pained me so to hear her talk this way about her self. I loved her.

Yet, here I was, in unconscious self-aggrandizement. Where did I learn to do this? Was it simply modeled to me throughout life, and I absorbed it passively? It’s a self-response based on the idea that life should, or I should, be different than it is. But when is that ever true? What if we’re always exactly where we’re intended to be at any given moment? What if the only thing ever required of us is loving-kindness?

My grandmother had Pluto in Cancer square her Aries Sun. I have Pluto in Libra square my Cancer Sun. There’s a tendency toward harshness with this aspect, one which many astrology books express as a warning about being ruthless, controlling, uncompromising -especially related to other people and external ambitions. I never identified with these statements, until I applied these adjectives to how I treated me. These books clearly weren’t written for the feminine, because the feminine generally won’t hurt other people -we hurt our selves. I notice this also with clients who have Pluto square the lights (Sun and Moon), especially: the presence of an occasional but persistent aggressive intruder. A vulnerability to the energy of harshness, unkindness, to tearing our self down.

It comes in subtle self-judgments that have an edge to them. I’m retelling a story and I say, “I didn’t listen to my intuition… I was being careless.” I listen to my own retelling of it. Careless. There’s a judgment there. Was I careless, or did I just get caught up in an energy? It can get more blatant. As with one of my clients, a beautifully sensitive soul, who referred to herself as a selfish jerk (I was stunned into silence).

There are a million ways to say: I’m wrong. I must be wrong. I should have done something different. I should be different. There are a million small and subtle ways we judge our self- even as we pretend we’re not doing exactly that. Like a laugh with no smile in it, the tenor, the feeling tone, reveals everything.

It’s a Pluto paradox. Pluto tears down, but only to destroy falsity. When the Ego turns that on our self, when we use that to tear down our very self, this powerful energy destroys our self-confidence, centeredness, gentleness. It’s the opposite of gentle. It is also untrue. Your Ego’s interpretation of Plutonian energy (because its been trained to regard harshness as a reasonable response) might try and tell you that when you are hurting, you are suspect and have oodles of shadow work to do before you get to feel good. Not so. The truth is: You are good. You are, like my sweet grandmother, the embodiment of what’s good, right and true in the world. When we really sink into that, when we allow that message about how good we are travel from our head to our belly to our feet, and into Mother Earth, we align with our True Nature, kindness. Aggression cannot coexist with this energy.

Capricorn Full Moon brings up our sharp edges. Pluto opposes the sensitive Cancer Sun, sensitizing our emotional responses, our bodies. Our sensitivities are heightened to any harshness we harbor, especially related to imagined “shoulds”, perceived failures, irrational levels of responsibility – Capricorn turf. Who is the voice that whispers, “Gee, I should have handled that better?” (Even though you did fine. Your self assessment and self questioning makes it uncomfortable. The way you resisted how you felt, the way you kept thinking: I can’t handle this, or I’m not enough, made it hard.) Who is the voice that says “I shouldn’t be feeling this”, instead of allowing the feelings to flow exactly as they are? Who created this SHOULD that is so big it’s a palpable presence, a shadow looming, waiting to measure out infractions with sharp, edgy precision? When the real precision is the perfection of becoming more precise about what’s really true?

This morning, after I hit my elbow, and listened to my response, I intuitively knew what to do. I sat on my yoga mat to do my loving-kindness pose. It’s a pose I made up, as far as I know, and I call it that because that’s what it feels like to my energy body. Loving. Kind. Accepting. Compassionate. It helps me to reconnect with me. If, at this Full Moon, you notice your self in an unkind self-response, you might ask, How can I say this in another way? How can I feel and respond to this moment differently? The exact moment you’re hurting, the moment you feel afraid or edgy, is the right time for kindness.

You can also try out my loving-kindness pose. Sit with your feet on the ground, back straight, knees bent and your hands wrapped around the front of your shins just under your knees, with your eye gaze relaxed and looking forward. Spend a few minutes in this pose… and receive your good, kind-hearted self.